Frances Johnson Passes to Her Rest

Anyone who knew Frances knew that there was one thing that was paramount – her faith in Jesus as her loving Saviour

News January 26, 2023

26 January 2023 | St. Albans, UK [Audrey Andersson with tedNEWS)

Anyone who knew Frances Johnson (née Gammon) knew that there was one thing that was paramount – her faith in Jesus as her loving Saviour.

This faith led her to a life of service both formal and informal. Her formal service was at the South England Conference (SEC), in the accounts department, Broomhill House and the majority at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Trans-European Division (TED).

Frances worked for five treasurers at the TED, four of whom are still living: Annalisa Halonen, Graham Barham, Johann E Johansson, and most recently Nenad Jepuranovic. I talked with three of them and they all agreed: Frances was one of the fixed points of the Treasury Department. Part of the financial institutional memory, having come before computers were introduced and left when everything was done electronically and stored in the cloud. She had a careful eye for detail and a large heart for the missionaries and staff whose salaries she processed every month. It was a matter of immense pride that she was never late in all her years with the payroll. Never afraid to ask questions, she made a significant contribution to the Treasury team during her years of service.

Let me unpack that formal tribute a little.

Francis had the personal touch. Payslips didn’t get put in pigeon holes, rather were delivered personally, with a smile and an enquiry ‘how you were doing?’

When there were Division meetings at the office and people would come from the unions and needed to collect their per diem there was always a line at Frances’s door. Yes, she was the one with the money, but also she was genuinely interested in them, their families and what had happened since the last time they had met.

For many years Frances looked after the physical needs of the office by going to the local Costco and cash and carry warehouses to make sure that the beverages, water and other things were kept well stocked so that members of the office family felt well cared for and appreciated.

Showing appreciation was one of Frances’ gifts. Once a year the office has an outing. Frances was always a source of good ideas for places to go and on more than one occasion she and former TED colleague Pat Swan scouted out alternatives, just to make sure that it really was a suitable venue. Again, in this Frances showed her attention to details and care, as I had reason to be very grateful on my first office outing. It was Frances who remembered the appropriate tip for the bus driver and others.

You always knew when Frances was in the office for two reasons: One her car was in her parking space. Officially no one has a parking space at the TED, but because Frances was always the first to the office she had HER space. Initially, I could never quite understand why she chose to park at the back of the office. It always seemed more awkward to park, until I discovered her parking space was actually the largest in the car park!

The other way you knew Frances was in the building were the gentle strains of the UK radio station Classic FM coming from her office. Her office was always an oasis of calm bathed in Classic FM!

In a multi-national and multi-cultural office, Frances was proud to be British and flew the flag – literally. Frances made sure that on high days and holidays the TED proudly flew the Union Jack. On state occasions and jubilees Frances was always at the forefront of helping to transform the boardroom and celebrate the occasion. She left a high bench-mark to follow.

To mark the occasion of her retirement in 2020 (during lockdown), a video memory was created. The message – “We will miss you.”

Frances Johnson (1944-2022) d.14 October.

[Photos: Tor Tjeransen / AME CC BY 4.0]

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